Wealth Implications of Slavery and Racial Discrimination for African American Descendants of the Enslaved

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We compare the 2018 per capita Black–White wealth gap of about US$352,250 with portions of the estimated total cost of slavery and discrimination to African American descendants of the enslaved. For the period of slavery in the United States, we arrive at estimates of about US$12 to US$13 trillion in 2018 dollars using Darity’s land-based and Marketti’s price-based estimation methods, respectively. Estimates using Craemer’s wage-based method tend to be higher ranging from US$18.6 trillion at 3% interest to US$6.2 quadrillion at 6% interest. The value of lost freedom (LF) based on Japanese American World War II internment reparations is estimated at 3% interest to amount to US$35 trillion and at 6% to US$16 quadrillion. Further research is required to estimate the cost of lost opportunities (LC) and pain and suffering (PS). Further research is also required to estimate the costs of colonial slavery, as well as racial discrimination following the abolition of slavery in the United States to African American descendants of the enslaved. Whether the full cost of slavery and discrimination should be compensated, or only a portion, and at what interest rate remain to be determined by negotiations between the federal government and the descendant community.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Craemer, T; Smith, T; Harrison, B; Logan, T; Bellamy, W; Darity, W

Published Date

  • September 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 218 - 254

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0034-6446

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0034644620926516

Citation Source

  • Scopus